While George Mason’s Cinderella story now occupies the attention of most college basketball fans, one of the leading stories in college basketball this season has been Adam Morrison’s race with J.J. Redick for scoring and player of the year honors. Morrison, the junior All-American from Gonzaga, also has type 1 diabetes – a fact that has garnered significant media attention throughout the season including feature articles in NYT and SF Chronicle and ESPN.com, to name a few.
Although Morrison is certainly not the first big-name athlete to have diabetes (Olympic swimmer Gary Hall and hockey great Bobby Clarke are among the others) and has shown little interest in becoming a poster-boy for the disease, his story is particularly compelling as it coincides with growing recognition of the seriousness of the health crisis our nation now faces in diabetes. Morrison’s ability to compete and succeed at the highest level of athletics is a striking testament to the fact that diabetes, when it is well-managed, has to be neither a limiting nor controlling factor in a patient’s life.
Even though the majority of patients with diabetes may lack the resources and discipline to monitor their glucose levels as closely as Morrison, who tests during every break in his games and adheres to a strict dietary regimen, we hope the attention he has and will continue to receive as his career progresses will inspire hope and renewed monitoring vigilance among fellow type 1 and type 2 patients.
An interesting side-note: It is estimated that $3.8 billion in productivity will be lost in the United States this year due to attention paid to the NCAA basketball tournament!